Academic Word List Exercises

The Academic Word List and IELTS writing

Academic word is exactly the sort of words you need to be able to use in your writing. They are all common words and you do need to learn to use them. This means learning:

  • their grammar
  • collocations/word combinations
  • different word forms

Their meaning is not normally a problem.

What is the Academic Word List?

My daily word exercises are based on the Academic Word List (AWL) because the AWL is a list of the words most used in academic writing across all specialties (science, law, medicine, economics etc).

The AWL contains 570-word families subdivided into 10 lists with list 1 as the result the most frequently used words and list 10 the least. The idea is that list 1 contains the most common words and list 10 the least common.

Learning how to use these word List

This Word is a great tool but you need to know how to use it. Here are some quick tips.

Do not just focus on what the words mean because these are words you want to use for yourself.

Learn what all the common forms of the word are hence this means learning the word families

You need to know what other words you can use in combination with these words – this means collocations and prepositions. If you don’t know that then you can’t use them!

570-word families are not 570 words – it takes time – don’t rush it

There are 1000s of words in the Academic Word List and it will take time to master. Why? Each word is, in fact, a family of words e.g. analyse is not one word but at least 4:

Analyze – analysis – analytical – analytically

Review is important 

Learning words need repetition. This is why I now have weekly review exercises.

IELTS essay exercises using the Academic Word List

One great way to learn words from the Academic Word List is to see how they are sued in context. These essay exercises will help with just that:

Word formation exercises

Word formation and nouns: 6 sets of exercises to help you make nouns from list 1 of the Academic Wordlist 

Exercises on the headwords in each sublist

Please note that this is a work in progress. That means I’m still working on it. so, note that some of the links here will only take you to your exercises and not complete lessons.

A-List 1

B-List 2

C-List 3

D-List 4

E-List 5

F-List 6

G-List 7

H-List 8

I-List 9

J-List 10

The complete list of AWL words

For those of you interested in the complete list of all words in the AWL and not just the headwords, this list in the form of a pdf file comes from Victoria University. 

Academic words to describe the change

One sensible way to learn the words is by theme due to many of the words in the Academic Word List relate to change: this exercise helps you to use them.

lesson and exercises on different words to describe the change

Teaching and learning using the Academic Word List

If you are interested in teaching so you need to check out the link below or learning using the Academic Word List for the reason that you might want to check out this resource:

5 ideas for teaching from the Academic Word List

In the above link, there are ideas of teaching and learning using the AWL it is very important because we use these kinds of words as they are all common words and you do need to learn to use them.